RISCOSbits at Wakefield in Bradford

RISCOSbits will be exhibiting at the Wakefield Bradford Wradfold Show on Saturday, 21st March, with a wide selection of items for visitors to buy – both new products and old favourites.

RISC OS computer systems available on the day will include the FOURtress, RISCOSbits’ very small computer housed in a rugged aluminium case, available in a number of configurations, and with or without EDOS, which allows the machine to be booted into Linux directly from a RISC OS application.

As well as the main FOURtress machines, there will be some Lite versions – a £99.00 version of the computer that can be easily expanded to the full version at a later date.

A new offering is the PiRO Noir, a Raspberry Pi 4-based system supplied in a lightweight, sleek yet robust matte black case. The machine includes a 64GB uSD card, on which you will find the latest version of RISC OS and a specially curated selection of over 2GB of RISC OS software.

Making a Pi-based desktop considerably neater and – some would argue – more practical, the design of the PiRO Noir means that the ports available to the rear include not just the USB and ethernet ports, but also the audio, power, and HDMI ports – with the latter becoming full size. The GPIO connectors become available from the side – but are neatly hidden by a cover for those who don’t use them – and there are also two additional USB ports at the front for easy access, as well as fan control software. These systems start at £129.00 and, for the show, they will come with a free PSU.

The Pi Hard system has been to the gym for a bit of a workout, and come out of it as the Pi Harder. This new flagship machine has shed the transparent acrylic sheets used in the old case design, to be replaced by an aluminium-based one. In essence, RISCOSbits’ Andy Marks describes it as a more “rügged” version of the PiRO Noir, with the bonus of a built-in SSD for storage.

Based around a Pi 4, the system boasts five USB ports (two on the front), two full-sized HDMI ports, 4GB RAM (8GB versions available), 120GB (or optionally more) SSD, 32GB microSD, and so on – and all from just £199.00 for a complete system, with customisation options available.

And one final new computer system should hopefully be available to see (but not yet buy) is a prototype MiniITX board designed to host a Raspberry Pi CM4 module.

Moving away from computer systems, a replacement for the old Wispy product for accessing wireless networks will be available – Wispy X, a wireless bridging solution for RISC OS systems that aren’t able to use the Wi-Fi HAT option. Costing £45.00, Wispy X is apparently twice as fast as the previous Wispy V (which is presumably why it’s gone from V straight to X). For those on a tighter budget, Wispy V will also be available at £25.00.

Andy will also be showing people his BUTTs at the show – but don’t worry, that’s actually a piece of hardware, and is his answer to the Raspberry Pi’s HAT system. BUTT stands for Built Under the Top, and is an add-on system that sits underneath the computer system, rather than on top of it.

There will be three BUTTs available on the day:

  • A USB BUTT for the FOURtress, adding three USB ports to the front;
  • A BIG BUTT, again for the FOURtress, adding the same three USB ports and a Wispy V device for wireless networking;
  • And the violent sounding ED BUTT, which provides an External Drive for the PiRO Noir, complete with a USB to SATA adapter.

I’m just glad Andy hasn’t come up with an backronym that would allow him to show off a HAIRY BUTT.

There will also be a number of accessories available to buy from the stand, including a Wi-Fi HAT carrier board for the Pi 400 (on which the GPIO pins used for HAT devices protrude to the machine’s rear), the EDOS dual operating system kit, and a range of cases.

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